Toronto’s Best Patisseries
Our favourite spots, where butter really does make everything better
The city is suddenly awash with patisseries churning out all manner of sweet and savoury treats: Hong Kong–style buns, honey-soaked Syrian baklava, show-stopping cakes, chocolate-loaded cookies and some of the best Parisian-style pastries you’ll find this side of the first arrondissement. Here, our favourite spots, where butter really does make everything better.
1. The Tempered Room
It’s only taken eight years for this ultra-hip Parkdale patisserie to evolve into a local institution—for a few very good reasons. Thoughtful, creative takes on classic French technique, a dedicated focus on seasonality, and careful local sourcing underpin the tremendous pastries that line the shop’s display cases and shelves. The offerings are the result of the percolating creativity of Humera Ali and Greg Laird—who are partners in life and in laminated dough—and their team. Consider the exceptional croissants, with razor-thin layers of buttery dough twisted at each end to form tight spirals, and the pain au chocolat, jammed with three sticks of Belgian chocolate; the fudgy brownie encased inside a buttery, caramelized kouign-amann; a jaw-dropping mille feuille funnel cake riff, the layers stacked high with syrupy Pakistani jalebi and poached strawberries; and the sui generis cheeseboard croissant, a decadent assortment of fromage spread across a tear-apart viennoiserie platter shaped like a board.
Don’t let the playful, punk-rock irreverence and eye-popping creations hide the fact that the techniques at play here are of the highest calibre—this would be pure Instagram bait if they didn’t have the chops to back it up. In addition to the sweets, there’s an extensive assortment of savoury goods (Laird and Ali are both trained chefs, in addition to pastry savants), including gorgeous, veggie-forward sandwiches and a picture-perfect croque monsieur—on a croissant, of course. 1374 Queen St. W., 416-546-4374, thetemperedroom.com
2. Roselle Desserts
Pastry chef Stephanie Duong has quickly amassed a serious cult following with her playful, French-inspired desserts since launching this Corktown cutie in 2015 with her partner, Bruce Lee. Consistently flawless execution separates this spot from the pack—possibly a lingering effect of Duong’s stint at the three-Michelin-starred Régis et Jacques Marcon, among other impressive gigs in France and Hong Kong. Highly seasonal (and a little more concise than before the pandemic), Roselle’s menu often highlights local producers—like in a recent maple walnut medovik, a layer cake that subbed Tamarack Farms maple syrup for most of the usual honey, finished with deeply flavourful black walnuts from Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Grimo Nut Nursery. Heavenly pavlovas—one with a bevy of berries from Eborall Farms—are a summertime strong point worth looking forward to all year. 362 King St. E., 416-368-8188, roselleto.com
3. Hadrien Verrier Patisserie
One bite of chef-owner Hadrien Verrier’s almond croissant reveals his irreproachable technical chops—he trained at Paris’s renowned École Grégoire-Ferrandi—but there’s more to him and his edible art than flawless technique. His pastries (which are sold inside the Death in Venice gelateria on Dundas West until a new just-off-Roncesvalles space is ready later this year) are classic, elegant and, for the most part, traditional. Financiers, shortbread and a gorgeous chocolate chip almond bread pudding drizzled with caramel sauce are among his more classic offerings. When Verrier does break the rules, as in an emerald-coloured croissant filled with Irish cream, masterful results signify that he learned the rulebook inside out first. Everything Verrier makes has the warm, ineffable goodness that can only come from an artisan who cares deeply about each and every carefully executed morsel. For lack of a better phrase, it must be love, and you can’t teach that—even at a prestigious Parisian pastry school. 1418 Dundas St. W., 647-860-8716, hadrienpatisserie.ca
4. Fleur Du Jour
Husband-and-wife team Clara McBride and Riane Georges Ikiouane launched their St. Clair West shop in 2017, shortly after moving from Paris, where Ikiouane trained at l’École de Boulangerie et de Pâtisserie de Paris. He’s something of a maverick, regularly inventing new pastries and names to go with them. Take the wildly delicious brietto: a croissant filled with—you guessed it—brie, prosciutto and a herbaceous, top-secret savoury crème, always baked fresh to order. Or the beaubois, an indulgent, cocoa-topped kouign-amann finished with gianduja. Everything is from-scratch artisanal perfection, like the house-made orange confit inside the L’evesque croissant—another one of Ikiouane’s signature creations. Single-serving versions of specialty creations, like a tarte aux framboises practically keeling over with raspberries, are available on a walk-in basis. Pre-order for the full size. 603 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-652-2562, fleurdujour.ca
5. Barbershop Patisserie
Jill Barber—former head of Blackbird Baking Co’s pastry department, and pastry chef at Osteria Rialto—opened a patisserie last year to ringing accolades. Her offerings are a mash-up of influences from France and England, combining the former’s tight-laced traditions and the latter’s rustic approachability. The lemon bichon—so named because it resembles the hairdo of a bichon frise—with its creme bruleée–like exterior and a lemon curd filling, is popular for a reason. Barber doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, so there’s a near equal emphasis on savouries, like a buttery sausage roll. She likes to say that her pastries are the everyday kind—casual but finessed—except for the special-occasion cakes, which are show-stoppers. 859 College St., barbershoppatisserie.com
6. Mon K Patisserie
With a blend of Japanese and French culinary influence, this East York favourite brings a keen eye for balance and restraint to its patisserie and viennoiserie. Never cloyingly sweet, the gorgeous goods by Ryosuke Kita range from classic butter croissants and cream puff to seasonal matcha Mont Blancs. For the full Mon K experience, get a whole cake, available for pre-order in flavours including matcha tiramisu and royal dark chocolate. The airy Japanese strawberry shortcake is also a standout, as are the baguettes, apricot tarts and a perfect, crunchy-creamy choux au craquelin. For walk-ins, visit as early as you can—a Saturday morning lineup is to be expected. 1040 Coxwell Ave., 416-696-8181, monkpatisserie.ca
Now in its second generation of family ownership, Lucullus Bakery was an instant hit with those who grew up on Hong Kong–style baking when it launched in Markham 30 years ago. Now, with four locations in the GTA, its menu of buns, pastries, cakes and dim sum has expanded to include more than 150 items; legions of devotees, who themselves span multiple generations, attest to its enduring focus on quality. The pineapple bun is a mainstay. It doesn’t actually contain any fruit—its name refers to the golden-brown colour and bumpy texture of its top layer, a thin sheet of crackly sugar cookie dough laid over soft, sweet white bread. The BBQ pork bun is made with meat roasted in-house and laced with a secret sauce. And no review of Lucullus would be complete without a mention of its egg tarts—think buttery, silky, golden filling and a light, flaky, 64-layer crust. 5200 Yonge St., 647-341-3088, and three other locations, lucullusbakery.ca
8. Crown Pastries
The aroma of baked honey and phyllo hits you as soon as you walk into—or even just past—Crown Pastries. It’s a hint at their signature offering: gorgeous, delicate baklava available in a dizzying array of flavours and sold by the kilogram. Brothers Rasoul and Ismail Alsalha launched their original Scarborough shop in 2015 after emigrating from Syria in 2009, where they left behind a generations-old family bakery. Each location’s counter is stocked with jewel-like pastries. The pistachio baklava tastes like the very essence of pistachio, with flecks of them throughout rich, emerald-green dough. Knafeh (shredded phyllo and cheese soaked in syrup), maamoul (cookies with dates and nuts), basbousa (semolina cake) and other Middle Eastern delights are just some of musts. 2086 Lawrence Ave. E. and two other locations, 647-351-2015, crownpastries.com
9. Bonne Nouvelle Patisserie Toronto
Bonne Nouvelle, a French-Korean patisserie in Little Italy, even comes with a sugar-sweet aesthetic—think pink walls, gold accents and rounded archways. It’s like Barbie’s Dream Bakery if such a thing exists. In the middle of it all: a glass display case filled not with jewels but with desserts that look like they escaped from a Tiffany shop window. Specialties include filled croissants in flavours like strawberry-yuzu; classic vanilla and rum cannelés; and dainty, delicate madeleines, including non-traditional ones flavoured with a mix of rose, lychee and raspberry. Specialty drinks are another highlight here, like a delightful matcha latte and a not-too-sweet yuzu lemonade with fresh muddled berries. 655 College St.,
The variety and scale of production at this charming North York patisserie is big enough to handle wholesale and catering orders, but small enough to do all that without sacrificing quality. One of the best ways to sample their wares is to pre-order the “weekend box,” which comes chock full of croissants, kouign-amann, madeleines, danishes, jam and two loaves of bread. (That’s a guaranteed good time if we’ve ever heard of one.) For walk-ins, the thing to get is the kouign-amann. With rippling layers of buttery goodness—soft on the inside, with an undercurrent of subtle saltiness to offset the gorgeously caramelized exterior—Goûter’s version approaches the Platonic ideal of the notoriously difficult-to-execute French pastry. The indulgent, Nutella-filled (and it is very filled) croissant is another standout. Besides excellent viennoiserie, there’s an impressive selection of house-made chocolate and ice cream. And for when a craving strikes at home: frozen croissants. 3507 Bathurst St., 300 Eglinton Ave. W., 647-351-3507, gouter.ca
These listings (and many more) appear in Toronto Life’s 100 Best Food Shops special issue, which is available on newsstands now. To purchase your own copy, click here.